Like many groups that stick around for years, the Eagles had their share of lineup changes.
Cofounding guitarist Bernie Leadon left in 1975 and was replaced by Joe Walsh, only to return for the group’s tour from 2013 through 2015. Bassist Randy Meisner split in 1977 and had his spot filled by Timothy B. Schmit. Guitarist Don Felder joined in 1974 and remained until the group’s breakup in 1980, then rejoined in 1994 before he was fired in 2001.
As it happens, the only time all seven Eagles members shared a stage was when the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. The lineup—which included the late guitarist Glenn Frey and drummer Don Henley, along with Leadon, Meisner, Felder, Walsh and Schmit—performed their first hit, “Take It Easy,” and their biggest, “Hotel California.”
Viewers were understandably expecting fireworks. The band’s breakup in 1980 had been acrimonious, and Frey had at one point stopped speaking with the others. Instead, the band members set aside the past and took the occasion to reflect on their history and success.
Perhaps no one in the Eagles who spoke that night was as eloquent as Frey. Speaking last, he said, “Obviously, what’s going on tonight is a lot bigger than any of the individuals onstage. And a lot has been talked about and speculated about over the last 27 years about whether or not we got along. We got along fine. We just disagreed a lot. Tell me one worthwhile relationship that has not had peaks and valleys.
“You cannot play music with people for very long if you don’t genuinely like them. I guarantee you that over the nine years the Eagles were together during the 1970s, and the three years we were together during our reunion, the best of times ranked in the 95th percentile and the worst of times ranked in the very small percentile that obviously everyone but the seven of us have dwelled on for a long, long time. Get over it.”
Enjoy this blast from the past.